Daryll Clark still can’t get over his dismal performance against Iowa last season.

The Penn State quarterback, known for sharing the credit when the Nittany Lions offense is clicking and shouldering the blame when it doesn’t, remembers Iowa’s stunning 24-23 victory last season as the worst performance of his collegiate career.

“There’s nothing that anyone can tell to make me believe that it wasn’t my fault, period,” Clark said this week.

He will have a chance to atone for his mistakes Saturday night when the Hawkeyes (3-0) and No. 5 Nittany Lions (3-0) meet a season after a 5-4 Iowa team dashed the national title hopes of Penn State, which came into the game 9-0.

It was a memorable game for a different reason for Hawkeyes quarterback Ricky Stanzi, who has developed a reputation for subpar play in the first half of games before stepping up his game in second halves.

No comeback stands out more than the fourth-quarter drive on Penn State, when Stanzi helped lead his team down the field to set up Daniel Murray’s game-winning 31-yard field goal with one second left.

No wonder Clark is so upset.

Clark was 9 of 23 for 86 yards passing and one interception, a pick he threw with less than four minutes left to set up Iowa’s go-ahead drive on a cold, blustery day last November. It was Clark’s first game since getting knocked out of a win at Ohio State two weeks earlier because of a concussion.

Clark still watches replays of his nightmarish game in Iowa City, the worst outing of his otherwise fine collegiate career.

“It just wasn’t the interception. It was plays that went along the entire game,” Clark said. “I watched that film time and time again to see what went wrong.”

Many teammates from that game have since left Happy Valley. Receivers Derrick Williams and Deon Butler are in the NFL, and three-fifths of last year’s solid offensive line ran out of eligibility.

That has led to questions this year as to just how the Spread HD would operate with so many new faces.

Clark has completed 67 percent of his throws this season for 760 yards and eight touchdowns and three interceptions. The new receivers have played well, and the Nittany Lions have outscored their first three nonconference foes, 90-20.

Iowa, though, might be the toughest defense they’ll face this year.

Clark and the passing game clicked in the first two wins while the running game struggled. Last week against Temple, tailback Evan Royster finally got going with 134 rushing yards, but Clark was off a bit and took some big hits.

Penn State could be saving some schemes with the tougher Big Ten schedule approaching. The mobile Clark, for instance, hasn’t run any designed quarterback draws or keepers – in part because coaches don’t want him to take many hits since a true freshman, Kevin Newsome, is Clark’s backup.

Clark estimates the offense has used about 70 percent of the playbook.

“I think we’ve shown a touch of the spread, and a touch of the power I,” Clark said. “We really haven’t shown that much, I think.”

At Iowa, Stanzi might settle for just getting some of his key teammates back on the field.

The Hawkeyes likely will be without left tackle Bryan Bulaga (undisclosed illness), as Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday night that he doesn’t see Bulaga being ready by Saturday.

Tight end Tony Moeaki (leg) and wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (hamstring) are day-to-day, and Ferentz hasn’t released more specifics on those injuries.

It shouldn’t faze Stanzi, who is familiar with dealing with adversity – much of which is by his own doing.

Iowa’s junior quarterback has struggled to shake off early game jitters. All three of his interceptions have come in the opening half of games this season, and Arizona returned one 38 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter last week.

“We’re all kind of focused on his hiccups right now. I think his overall production is something we’d all take,” Ferentz said. Stanzi has hit 60 percent his passes while throwing for 644 yards with five touchdowns.

It’s after halftime when Stanzi picks up the pace. For instance, he was a modest 9 for 18 passing for 101 yards in the first half against the Wildcats, but 11 for 14 for 104 yards in the second.

“He does everything the way you’d want, as far as work ethic, studying the game, preparing, his mental toughness, his physical toughness,” Ferentz said. “He’s proven himself to us.”

Especially in last year’s victory over Penn State.

Stanzi’s pass to Johnson-Koulianos at the Penn State 15 with 18 seconds left helped set up Murray’s go-ahead kick. Stanzi said he’s moved on, though he undoubtedly wouldn’t mind another big win on Saturday.

“To me it was another game, another close one. They usually are in the Big Ten. That’s really all it was,” Stanzi said. “I’m sure it’s like the rest of the games where it’s helped out with experience.”

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